Anthony Albanese’s go-slow return to campaigning after isolation


Asked why Albanese could not take questions from the media pack after his breakfast television appearances, Chalmers said the Labor leader was “returning to the fray” and that journalists would have “a number of media engagements over the coming day”.

“The campaign [has] still got three weeks to run,” he said.

Jim Chalmers fronted the media in Albanese’s place on Friday.

Jim Chalmers fronted the media in Albanese’s place on Friday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Chalmers denied that Albanese was reluctant to lock in a second debate with Morrison, saying negotiations with broadcasters were happening in the normal way.

Albanese told Seven’s Sunrise on Friday morning he was “feeling much better” after his week recovering from COVID-19, dismissing Morrison’s comments suggesting that he had not been active while isolating.

“I’ll leave those comments for other people,” the Labor leader said, saying he had opted to follow health advice.

“I did interviews each and every day during that period. We did a lot of work on policy.”

Speaking on Nine’s Today, Albanese said he was relieved to be out of isolation in time for Labor’s campaign launch in Perth on Sunday after “a rough couple of days”.

He said while the virus “absolutely did knock me around” he had an easier time than others, which he attributed to being “triple vaxxed”.

On ABC television, Albanese proposed a debate at the National Press Club to be televised on the national broadcaster and said national secretaries of the Liberal Party and Labor parties “should sit down, work these issues through like adults”.

He said the first leaders’ debate had been held at a time and date of Morrison’s choosing, “but he can’t get to choose the entire process” and that he had to factor in prior engagements.

The May 8 proposal put forward by the Nine Network with The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age would air a leaders’ debate during the usual 60 Minutes timeslot on Sunday night to ensure a large audience.

The two leaders debated live on Sky News on April 20, the day before Albanese announced he had tested positive to COVID-19.

As Albanese emerged from isolation, Labor’s deputy leader Richard Marles tested positive to COVID-19 on Friday morning.

Marles said while he had been “looking forward” to travelling to Perth for Labor’s campaign launch on Sunday, he would now be spending seven days in isolation.

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